MAGGIE MAILER: Artist Residency @ Berkshire Museum
July 2 - November 1, 2009
Artist Residency at Berkshire Museum: Maggie Mailer
Dates: July 2 – December 31, 2009
PITTSFIELD, MA - A partnership between the Berkshire Museum, Ferrin Gallery, and the Pittsfield Cultural Council, has created a residency project at the Berkshire Museum featuring artist Maggie Mailer, who will paint from two to four days a week in the museum galleries over the course of five weeks, from July 2 to August 7. Two public programs, including a tour of highlights with Executive Director Stuart A. Chase and a discussion of the work Mailer produces, will take place in August and September. Mailer, one of the most established of the younger generation of contemporary artists working in the Berkshires, is also known as one of the original forces behind the revitalization of Pittsfield.
Mailer, the founder of Storefront Artist Project in 2002 established public working environments for artists in unoccupied spaces in Pittsfield. The working environment of the museum residency will be similar to Mailer's own former studio setting which was located in a street-level space on North Street, currently the location of Jae's Spice.
The idea for this residency came from a weekly artist "copying" program at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City which Mailer participated in during the winter of 2009 with painter Ben Tritt. During the program, in which Mailer painted in the museum's galleries, she focused on creating a "copy" of Grainfields, by Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628/29–1682). Mailer was attracted to the idea of painting in the museum following her 2008 solo show at Ferrin Gallery, The Volcano Sitters, which drew inspiration from master paintings reproduced in art history books and photographs.
Ferrin Gallery applied for support funding for a series of "field trips" with artists. With the support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council through the Pittsfield Cultural Council, a seed grant allowed Ferrin Gallery to ask Mailer if she would be interested in creating a "field trip" to the Berkshire Museum and the concept of a month- long residency, tour and talk was developed.
Mailer states, "In the past year, I've used the 19th-century romantic landscape as a screen for ideas in my paintings about beauty, presence, and danger. I'm now planning to explore these themes further by developing a sustained relationship with the Berkshire Museum's collection of 18th- and 19th-century landscape and portraiture. I'm interested in exploring the wings of the museum like an itinerant naturalist, setting up camp within the galleries, and examining the contents to find the raw materials of new paintings. By working directly from the collection, I'm hoping to distill a series of works exploring landscape and utopia."
Berkshire Museum has recently put European artworks from its vast, 30,000-object collection on view. The paintings, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries, have not been exhibited for more than 30 years.
July 2 - August 7
Thursday, August 13, 7 p.m.
Thursday, September 10, 7 p.m.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Pittsfield Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. It is a partner project between Ferrin Gallery and the Berkshire Museum.
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